January 8, 2015

To DO or not to DO. Self-Checkouts


We tend to go about our days without giving much thought to the economy, especially that of our region.  We have a tendency to criticize our home towns, and at the first opportunity we drive to a more alluring one – in our perception – and spend our hard-earned dollars  without realizing the negative impact we bestow on our own community.

We demand paved and clean streets, good policing, excellent schools, and so on, but we forget the fulfillment of such things require money generated from sales tax. Next time you go out shopping consider visiting your local retailers first, especially the mom-and-pop shops.

I recently read that corporations that make 70 to 80 billion dollars in earnings  employ an average of 60,000 people, were as if a mom-and-pop business would earn the same amount, it is estimated it would employ about half a million people.

This brings me to the point of this post. Should we use the self-checkout machines we are seeing more and more at local businesses?  Are we contributing to the loss of local jobs?

Valley folks need these jobs, especially the young who rely on them to attend and stay in college. Most of our families have two working parents.  What is our responsibility here?  We certainly want these businesses to stay afloat and profit – we know (even if very deep inside) they are in business to make money, and not to create jobs – but at what cost to our already severed counties that range among the poorest in the country? Higher tuition costs are keeping many of our own out of college, and if jobs are lost it will only make matters worse. How can we complain about those receiving unemployment assistance, and at the same time use these self-checkout machines that could contribute to the loss of jobs?

Frustrated by politics- like many of you I’m sure –  I  focus more on listening to what Pope Francis says, and he had this to say about inequality. “Inequality is the root of social ills … as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”

At least for me, it is not easy to fully understand the complexities of the global economy, and how our country is, and has been, a driving force. But I recently stumbled upon a very interesting documentary called Inequality for All available through Netflix and Amason that I highly recommend.  I sincerely hope that readers stay impartial to party affiliations, and focus on what really matters, and Robert Reich’s presentation, as well as Pope Francis’s words,  allow for deeper consideration and thought.

The documentary provides an easy to understand view of the USA’s economy, and the importance of preserving the buying power of the middle class as presented by Robert Reich; former United States Secretary of Labor, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. The best thing I liked about this documentary, is that it ends on a positive note – yes, there is a positive side to the economy. Because he is speaking to a large group of students, who at times seem distraught, the positive ending is certainly uplifting.

This should be of special interest to La Vida Valle’s young readers, and for those of us who go about our lives focusing on our own economics, and planning where to go shopping next.  Watch a preview here.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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